2016 Rio Olympic Games, Gold Medal Match Preview 🇧🇷
(2) 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs 🇵🇷 Monica Puig
Then there were two! Angelique Kerber and Monica Puig will fight for gold on Saturday in what promises to be an epic battle between two gutsy competitors.
Angelique Kerber’s season 2016 keeps getting better and better. The German has already defied all expectations by a huge distance, Angie started the year by winning her first Grand Slam in Melbourne, reached the final at Wimbledon, won Stuttgart and is now into the gold medal match in Rio. Kerber has sailed into Saturday’s gold medal match in Rio without dropping a set.
The world number 2 has overcome numerous tough opponents in Rio, starting with wins over Mariana Duque-Marino, Eugenie Bouchard and Samantha Stosur. Kerber confirmed her spot in the final with a 6-1 6-2 win over Johanna Konta and a 6-3 7-5 win over Madison Keys. Kerber was superb under pressure in her semi-final win over Madison Keys, Kerber was rock solid when it mattered as she saved all 10 break points she faced throughout the match, an incredible effort given she doesn’t possess a ‘big’ serve. Kerber is a totally different player in 2016, the German is infinitely tougher when in critical moments in big matches.
Monica Puig is having the best week of her tennis life. No one expected the Puerto Rican to reach the gold medal match but she has made her way to Saturday’s gold medal match in style. Puig rocketed through her first four matches in Rio (defeating Polona Hercog, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Garbine Muguruza and Laura Siegemund) without dropping a set and averaging less than 2 games against per set. Puig confirmed her place in the final with a hard-fought 6-4 1-6 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova. It was impressive how Puig was able to swipe away the disappointment of the second set and emerge victorious in the third against a more experienced and accomplished opponent.
Angelique Kerber holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Monica Puig. Kerber won an extremely close match in their first meeting, a 3-6 6-4 7-6 win at the Brisbane International in 2013 whilst their most recent clash was an easier win for the German as she claimed a 6-2 6-3 win at the Rogers Cup last year. Both of those matches were on a hard court, the same surface as Saturday’s final, but the hard court in Rio is much slower and will favour Puig.
Kerber and Puig are both playing outstanding tennis in Rio. Saturday’s winner will be whoever can execute their game under extreme pressure. Kerber is clearly more experienced in big matches so she may have the mental edge but I believe Puig may have the tennis edge as she has a greater ability to hit through the Rio courts and can match Kerber in most areas. This is the biggest match of Puig’s life and could be historical moment, If the Puerto Rican can maintain her composure I think she will win this match. Conversely, there is actually more pressure on Kerber in this match as she is expected to win, this could work against her. It should be a great final!